Emma Rose Guthrie

Harkers Island, NC

Emma Rose Guthrie was born on March 21, 1933 on Harkers Island to Leslie Rose and Christine Willis. She is one of fourteen children. Her father, Leslie Rose, was a fisherman and boat builder. “Emmer,” or “Em,” as she is affectionately called, spent her days on the water, fishing, clamming (you can still find her out clamming today), and picking oysters with her father. She was known to sell flounder at the fish house so her father could sleep, and tended to her younger siblings, sewing flour sack dresses for her sisters, and helping with family meals.

She married Garland Guthrie in 1951, an army man, whom she was devoted to until his death in 2011. On the island, she is known for her poetry of island times, and serves as the historian for the Huggins Memorial Baptist Church. She was one of the first people to be baptized there and has been a member of the choir since 1971.

Date of interview:

April 28, 2016


Keia Mastrianni and Mike Moore


Keia Mastrianni

I stayed here the whole time, but I wouldn’t leave no way. I got to smell that salt air. I got to have my feet in that saltwater.

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